Note: I'm not going to have much blogging time coming up, so the reviews for Red State, A Better Life, and Tower Heist are a little rushed and not as well thought out, coherent, or in depth as I'd have wished.
Directed by Chris Weitz (About a Boy) and written by Eric Eason and Roger L. Simon, A Better Life follows an undocumented Mexican immigrant father named Carlos played by Demian Bichir. Carlos lives in Los Angeles and is a gardener whose wife left him alone to raise his now fifteen year old son, Luis. Luis is drawn to the street life of gangbangers and thugs, thus distancing himself from his hardworking father. Carlos gets the opportunity to buy a truck, but it is quickly stolen by a fellow worker. Carlos ends up getting drunk and when he comes home, he explains to Luis how he just wanted to give his son what he didn't have (hint: look at the title of the movie). So the next morning, Luis offers to help his father locate the truck in a Bicycle Thieves-esque plot that draws the pair closer.
The film is beautifully shot, edited, etc., but the real reason I'd heavily reccomend seeing this is the both unbelievably desperate and coureagous character of Carlos as played by Bichir. This will probably be the best performance of the year that may not get any recognition from industry awards ceremonies. The last scene between Carlos and Luis is a beautiful monologue that sums up the spirit and themes of this film better than I could hope to. I really don't have much else to say about the film, other than to look into it, see if any reviews written about it make it sound even more appealing to you, and then set aside a quiet night to watch a father-son story so heartfelt, that I wish Weitz could keep making films like these and move away from the more commercial fare he has been involved with as of late.